Twitter is a tool we’ve not really got our heads round yet – easy to use and interesting to read but somehow not as easy to interact with your followers and ‘digital friends’. What it does seem to be better at is interacting with businesses –somehow a ‘disgruntled’ tweet seems to get a much quicker response than an email. Can’t remember ever seeing a customer service complaint on Instagram!
We do have Twitter to thank though for our recent (very small!) piece of good luck when we won two tickets courtesy of Fujifilm UK to a presentation of our choice on the Super Stage at the Photography Show 2018. Great excitement when Samara from Fujifilm contacted us to give us the good news – free tickets to anything are great aren’t they? We did have to buy the tickets to get in and buy the train tickets but definitely worth it – just don’t ask about what else we bought (should have left our credit cards at home!)
It is many years since we have been to the NEC at Birmingham. (Birmingham again - its becoming a pattern…) . The last time we were there was before we were married – probably 30 years ago - to watch one of our favourite bands at the time The Cure. Hard to believe how far we used to have to travel to see a concert. Thank goodness for the arenas which have sprung up in most cities. Back then we had an hour and a half drive down the M6 which in these current days of horrific traffic would probably take much longer, but thankfully from Wigan trains go direct to the NEC in just over an hour and a half.
The train was very busy and great fun. There were three large shows on that day the Photography Show, a Sewing and Crafts show and most excitedly Birmingham Comic Con! Time for a game of passenger bingo – who was going where? The Comic Con cosplayers were easy to spot in fantastic costumes many of which looked home made – maybe they were doing a 2 for 1 with the sewing show? We had two characters behind us dressed in Final Fantasy costumes and one who appeared to be carrying what had once been an ironing board and had a new life as some sort of sword. As the train pulled into Birmingham International it was standing room only and the addition of the ‘ironing board’ into the queue to get off caused endless laughter amongst the passengers. It was a real life game of tetris as we all tried to get in position to get off or just get out the way!
The entrance to the exhibition halls was dominated by colourful characters and it was a pleasure to see how much effort people had put into their costumes. Our camera was in our bag but we’re both a bit shy at photographing people so there it stayed. I do wish I had been braver as I am sure the photos would have been amazing.
Photography Show 2018 was much quieter and we were soon inside and overawed by the sheer size of the hall and the number of exhibitors. We had a guide but no plan so decided to just wander up and down and ‘browse’. 2 hours and 5km later it was lunch time, we had a shopping list and we were very hot. Outside was -3 and snowing so we were dressed accordingly. Inside was toasty warm and obviously dry! Tip 1 – dress very differently to us!
I was surprised at what a male dominated world photography appears to be. Where are all the female photographers? There were some families which was lovely to see and the occasional woman but the hall and most of the stands were very heavily male. To cater to this audience lots of the camera stalls had young female models there to allow people to experiment with taking different shots and using their equipment. Well done to Fujifilm who bucked the trend and had a very regal Greek God on their stand the day we visited. Can’t help but wonder how these actors describe that job on their CV’s but well done to all of them I don’t expect they get paid too much and it must be a very tiring strange day.
For our free tickets we had chosen to attend the presentation on the Super Stage by Art Wolfe. Now one of us is not good at sitting watching things like that and was really just looking forward to a rest but how wrong could I have been! From the minute he started talking I was so engaged. His photographs were breathtaking but the story of his life was inspiring and just so interesting. I particularly loved the photographs he had taken of the tribes he had spent time with as well as the views from the mountains he had climbed. I sat in the auditorium trying to work out how we could get such photographs – I have to admit I have never been up a mountain. He overran considerably and still didn’t get to the end but it was an extremely entertaining way to spend 90 minutes and we loved it! Once again thanks to Samara (who we did go over and thank personally) we were very grateful for the free tickets and especially her help when we realised the day before we had booked the wrong date!
Overall we both really loved the show and of course didn’t come home empty handed!
So what did we buy?
There was another piece of kit we saw which we really loved but couldn’t find any excuse to spend £200 on. The Adaptalux Lighting Studio consisted of tiny very bright LED lights on the end of adjustable arms. If you’ve ever seen the original War of the Worlds film they looked just like the alien ships! The lights were available in different colours and allowed the photographer to cast colours on objects making very interesting and unusual macro photos. We loved them and maybe one day will get some of our own!
Finally there was a chance to get our hands on the brand new Fujifilm X-H1 a definite step up from our trusty pair of
X-T1s. It just felt so right and the performance was out of the park – definitely marked that one for the future.
Thanks once again to Fujifilm for the tickets, which gave us the impetus to visit the Photography Show. As first time visitors we learnt a lot on the day not just about photography and I am sure we will be back next year!
Life and other